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HomeCanadaBreaking:: Despite calls for resignation, Trudeau continues to support David Johnston

Breaking:: Despite calls for resignation, Trudeau continues to support David Johnston


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he is determined to keep David Johnston in place as Canada’s special rapporteur on foreign interference despite a majority of MPs calling for him to resign.

In Toronto on Friday, Trudeau said he looks forward to public hearings the former governor general is expected to hold “across the country” in the coming months before publishing a final report in late October.

“He takes this question very seriously and is looking into the facts,” Trudeau said.

The House of Commons passed an NDP motion earlier this week, backed by Conservative and Bloc Quebecois MPs, urging Johnston to resign and asking the government to launch a public inquiry.

Conservative leader Pierre Poilièvre said in Winnipeg today that Johnston should leave, but would not name a potential replacement.

“All parties in the House of Commons need to come together and agree on someone who is not partisan, not connected to a party leader and who has a record of objectivity, preferably as a judge,” he said.

Poilièvre has criticized the role of Special Rapporteur as a “fake job” and questioned Johnston’s ability to objectively examine the Liberal government’s handling of perceived foreign interference due to his ties to the Trudeau family.

David Johnston, Independent Special Rapporteur on foreign interference, arrives in Ottawa on May 23, 2023 to present his first report. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Poilièvre refuses to review a secret part of Johnston’s first report on foreign interference, as it would prevent him from openly criticizing the federal government on the subject.

Johnston has defended his integrity and downplayed his connections to the prime minister, saying this week he intends to continue in his role.

“When I accepted the mandate to act as an independent special rapporteur, I did so with full knowledge that the work ahead would be neither simple nor uncontroversial,” Johnston said in a media statement earlier this week.

“I fully respect the right of the House of Commons to express its views on my future work, but my mandate comes from the Government. I have a duty to continue that work until my mandate is complete.”

Trudeau accused Poilièvre and Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-Francois Blanchet of letting political arguments and political attacks get in the way of the facts.

“They have refused to receive security briefings on the factual facts surrounding the intelligence and the issue of foreign interference because they wish to continue to defame a man of unquestionable integrity and deep devotion and service to Canada,” Trudeau said.

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